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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Coaches Q and A: How Should I Handle a Long Rain Delay?

As I waited out yet another rain delay at the Junior Orange Bowl, it occurred to me that the last outdoor tournament I covered that didn't have one was the Easter Bowl, way back in April. With these disruptions such a regular part of tennis, I thought it would be helpful to get advice from Andy Brandi of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on dealing with them.

How should I handle a long rain delay?

Rain delays can be disruptive or they can be beneficial.

If you are ahead in the match, a rain delay can halt my momentum. If you are behind, a rain delay is a godsend. The important thing is to stay positive and have a system to follow when this occurs.

1) Be sure that you turn in the score at the time the match is halted. You do not want to have a disagreement about the score when the match resumes. Turn in the balls.

2) Ask for a time when the referee thinks the match may resume or when you can check back about the status of the match.

3) Take adavantage of the break to:
+ hydrate
+ eat
+ change clothes
+ stretch
+ discuss what you are doing well or what adjustments need to be made when
the match resumes
+ Get your equipment in order
+ Relax!

4) Keeping the time you are scheduled to resume in mind, warm up before you go back on court. It is crucial that you are ready to play when you go back on court. After a long delay, you will get 10 minutes to warm up. What you do before you go on is very important. If there are courts available to warm up, do an abbreviated warm up. If at the time of the suspension you are returning serve, take more returns. If you are serving, take more serves. Play some points and if you can, go from the warm up court to the match court. If there are no warm-up courts, jog around and jump rope before you go back on.

The key is to take advantage of the delay so you return to the court ready and be able to take control of the match right away. What you do and how you do it can give you an edge over your opponent. Best of luck!